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Illustration by Illustration by The Globe and Ma

If an Instagram Reel’s ephemeral expositions on the recent runways leave you wanting more, or you yearn for the informed perspective of fashion industry insiders that once flooded a glut of magazines, podcasts have entered the “style” conversation in a big way. They feature fodder ranging from behind-the-scenes divulgences to historical studies. Here’s a breakdown of the current landscape, its leaders and what to expect when you tune in.

FOR THE MINDFULLY STYLE CONSCIOUS

This past October, Articles of Interest’s first live taping took place at the Hot Docs Podcast Festival. The podcast, launched by Avery Trufelman in 2018, started as a spin-off of the popular architecture and design podcast 99% Invisible, where Trufelman was a producer. Her path from crafting stories about Brutalist architecture to the history of pockets on garments made sense to her, given the broad cultural implications of clothing.

Trufelman recalls dressing adventurously from a young age, and a moment of reflection about this form of expression eventually caught her off guard. “I was like, why does this matter so much to me?” she says about the aha moment that inspired the launch of her podcast, which has a near-five-star review average on Spotify. “It’s like I didn’t understand my own psychology – why do I wear this weird stuff? So, I feel compelled to do it.”

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Being a part of the 99% Invisible team made Trufelman realize that fashion as a form of communication was underserved as a theme in the audio storytelling space. “It made me wonder why we don’t talk about clothing in the same way,” she says. “The nice thing about learning about the movements and the theories and the ideas behind clothing design – including the construction – is that we are all able to then go and enact it in our own lives; whether it’s what we do for a living, what we buy, what we repair or even just how we put things together in the morning.”

At the festival, Trufelman interviewed footwear designer and founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge initiative Aurora James, as well as Elizabeth Semmelhack, director and senior curator at Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. Their discussion was informative and lively (Trufelman sipped whiskey while lobbing questions), covering everything from cultural appropriation to the importance of specific design details – such as why the back of the Moroccan babouche is pushed down. An accompanying slide show highlighted an array of shoe styles and was akin to the Articles of Interest Substack platform, which provides visual context for the various topics of the podcast.

Trufelman’s multiepisode examination of American Ivy style landed on several best podcast lists last year. Other fashion podcasts have found an ardent audience including Dressed: The History of Fashion and Black Fashion History, or through editor, stylist and vintage clothing aficionado Bay Garnett’s nostalgic series This Old Thing? For listeners particularly interested in sustainability considerations, Wardrobe Crisis looks at issues including regenerative agriculture’s role when it comes to the fibres used in fashion goods.

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FOR CULTURE VULTURES

Joining the likes of Dior, Chanel and Gucci, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton launched Louis Vuitton [Extended] in September, hosted by filmmaker Loic Prigent. The inaugural episode featured a conversation with the brand’s men’s creative director, Pharrell Williams, and his uncle, Bishop Ezekiel Williams, who led a gospel choir at the runway show of Pharrell’s first collection for the brand in Paris in June. Since then, Prigent has interviewed rugby player Dan Carter, as well as chefs Arnaud Donckele and Maxime Frédéric.

Meanwhile, the Chanel Connects podcast has paired talents in conversation, such as inter-disciplinary artist Yinka Ilori and classical musician Kelsey Lu or author Sheila Heti and painter Amy Sillman.

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The results are winding narratives that illuminate the elusive qualities of creativity and talent, with attempts at crafting the all-important aspect of aspiration that luxury brands must evoke.

FOR THOSE WITH INDUSTRY INTEREST

Speaking of markets, if the popularity of of-the-moment fashion reportage social-media accounts such as Diet Prada show us anything, it’s that the inner workings of the industry – for all its ills – are still a point of great fascination. The influential media company Business of Fashion has a topical podcast, eponymous in name and timely in nature; but its subject matter is often explored in unexpected ways. Take this summer’s episode about shifting AI anxiety into optimism featuring Mo Gawdat, the former chief business officer at the media tech company X.

Canadian Mosha Lundstrom Halbert, a Los Angeles-based fashion journalist, noticed that the TikTok videos she’d been making about topics from designer collaborations to red-carpet looks took off rather quickly. She also realized that her returning presence on CBC radio shows emphasized that “a lot of people still like to receive information in an audio format.”

As someone who grew up getting her fashion news from shows such as Fashion Television and Fashion File, Lundstrom Halbert says she became curious about “how younger generations, and my generation, are meant to stay informed when those television shows don’t exist? And people aren’t reading magazines with the same ferocity as they used to.”

Her NewsFash TikTok channel now counts more than 168,000 followers and three million likes, and after getting a call from Spotify thanks to her platform’s popularity, she launched the NewsFash podcast in August. Its first guest was fashion journalist Joe Zee and the two discussed (amongst other things) cancel culture within the style set. Lundstrom Halbert has also hashed out issues and ideas with Christian Allaire, senior fashion and style writer at Vogue, and Bjork’s stylist, Edda Gudmundsdottir. The variety of her guests speaks to Lundstrom Halbert’s ability to determine whose voice should be amplified in a vast arena of noise, an editor’s incantation that can shift from the printed word to microphone.

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“I strive to speak up about injustices, or bring attention to inequalities,” she says. “I also want to present information in a neutral way that encourages people to form their own opinions. I’m trying to create an environment where people can flex that muscle – where they are taking in information and digesting it, and then coming up with their own point of view.”



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